Like our Mom always told us, we eat our fruits and veggies to stay healthy. We want the nourishing vitamins and minerals for vitality, but there are some nasty things lingering on our produce that can make us sick! Dangerous foodborne microbes and toxic pesticides could be all over the skin of our produce.
That is why it is so important to wash our fruits and veggies before eating! Rosemary and lemon extracts have shown antimicrobial activity against food spoilage pathogens and dangerous foodborne bacteria. Try this easy homemade rosemary lemon produce spray recipe to clean your fruits and vegetables.
Rosemary Lemon Produce Spray Ingredients
2 cups of vinegar
1 tsp of liquid dish soap
1 tsp of rosemary essential oil
1 tsp of lemon essential oil
4 cups of water
8 oz spray bottle
Rosemary Lemon Produce Spray Instructions
Wear gloves when measuring essential oil.
Using a funnel, pour the vinegar into the spray bottle and then add the liquid soap and essential oils. Shake.
Add in the water and shake.
For fruits and veggies, spray the produce when you get it home from grocery shopping. Shake and spray. Let set for about 5 minutes. Rinse in a colander, then wipe dry and store until use.
Some Rosemary Lemon Produce Spray Research
Rosemary extract showed antioxidant and antimicrobial activity to use to reduce food spoilage. From: Klancnik, A., Guzej, B., Kolar, M. H., Abramovic, H., & Mozina, S. S. (2009). In Vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activity of Commercial Rosemary Extract Formulations. Journal of Food Protection, 72(8), 1744.
Rosemary and oregano extracts had stronger antioxidant properties than common food additives tested. From: Martínez-Tomé, M., Jiménez, A. M., Ruggieri, S., Frega, N., Strabbioli, R., & Murcia, M. A. (2001). Antioxidant properties of Mediterranean spices compared with common food additives. Journal of food protection, 64(9), 1412-1419.
Aflatoxin production of tested fungi was prohibited by rosemary and Ajowan extracts and could be used to preserve food and prevent toxigenic fungal infection. From: Rasooli, I., Fakoor, M. H., Yadegarinia, D., Gachkar, L., Allameh, A., & Rezaei, M. B. (2008). Anti Mycotoxigenic characteristics of Rosmarinus officinalis and Trachyspermum copticum L. essential oils. International journal of food microbiology, 122(1), 135-139.
Rosemary extract was effective in inhibiting soybean oil oxidation. From: Valenzuela, A., Sanhueza, J., Alonso, P., Corbari, A., & Nieto, S. (2004). Inhibitory action of conventional food-grade natural antioxidants and of natural antioxidants of new development on the thermal-induced oxidation of cholesterol. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 55(2), 155-162.
Basil, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme showed varying degrees of antimicrobial activity on foodborne pathogens. From: Gutierrez, J., Rodriguez, G., Barry-Ryan, C., & Bourke, P. (2008). Efficacy of plant essential oils against foodborne pathogens and spoilage bacteria associated with ready-to-eat vegetables: antimicrobial and sensory screening. Journal of Food Protection®, 71(9), 1846-1854.
Salad preservation was lengthened with the essential oils of thyme verbena, thyme, oregano, ajowan, tea tree, clove, sage, and rosemary. From: Molinos, A. C., Abriouel, H., López, R. L., Omar, N. B., Valdivia, E., & Gálvez, A. (2009). Enhanced bactericidal activity of enterocin AS-48 in combination with essential oils, natural bioactive compounds and chemical preservatives against Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat salad. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 47(9), 2216-2223.
Thyme and rosemary were bacteriostatic against Listeria monocytogenes, found in raw and processed foods. From: Giarratana, F., Muscolino, D., Ragonese, C., Beninati, C., Sciarrone, D., Ziino, G., … & Panebianco, A. (2016). Antimicrobial activity of combined thyme and rosemary essential oils against Listeria monocytogenes in Italian mortadella packaged in modified atmosphere: Thyme & Rosemary EOs vs L. monocytogenes. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1-8.
Basil, clove, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme exhibited antibacterial activities on a foodborne pathogen, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. From: Yano, Y., Satomi, M., & Oikawa, H. (2006). Antimicrobial effect of spices and herbs on Vibrio parahaemolyticus. International journal of food microbiology, 111(1), 6-11.
Oregano (Origanum syriacum), thyme (Thymbra spicata), lavender (Lavandula stoechas), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and laurel (Laurus nobilis), inhibited growth of tomato fungus. From: Soylu, E. M., Soylu, S., & Kurt, S. (2006). Antimicrobial activities of the essential oils of various plants against tomato late blight disease agent Phytophthora infestans. Mycopathologia, 161(2), 119-128.
The following essential oils and their constituents in order of effectiveness were active against pathogens in apple juice: against E. coli: carvacrol, oregano oil, geraniol, eugenol, cinnamon leaf oil, citral, clove bud oil, lemongrass oil, cinnamon bark oil, and lemon oil, and against S. enterica: melissa oil, carvacrol, oregano oil, terpeineol, geraniol, lemon oil, citral, lemongrass oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and linalool. From: Friedman, M., Henika, P. R., Levin, C. E., & Mandrell, R. E. (2004). Antibacterial activities of plant essential oils and their components against Escherichia coli O157: H7 and Salmonella enterica in apple juice. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 52(19), 6042-6048
Citrus oils of orange, lemon, and bergamot may be an effective and safe antimicrobial additive in food. From: Fisher, K., & Phillips, C. (2008). Potential antimicrobial uses of essential oils in food: is citrus the answer?. Trends in food science & technology, 19(3), 156-164.
Low concentrations of the lemon, orange, and mandarin essential oils along with a mild heat treatment showed synergistic lethal effects against spoiling and pathogenic food microorganisms. From: Espina, L., Somolinos, M., Lorán, S., Conchello, P., García, D., & Pagán, R. (2011). Chemical composition of commercial citrus fruit essential oils and evaluation of their antimicrobial activity acting alone or in combined processes. Food control, 22(6), 896-902.
Lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, and orange oils were antifungal against food spoilage molds. From: Viuda-Martos, M., Ruiz-Navajas, Y., Fernández-López, J., & Pérez-Álvarez, J. (2008). Antifungal activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.), mandarin (Citrus reticulata L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) and orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oils. Food control, 19(12), 1130-1138.
By: Kathy Sadowski
This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use. These statements are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. The information at this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult a Doctor before using herbs and essential oils if you have medical conditions, are taking medications, or have questions.